Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be reviewing the Stomp Racers Air-Powered Cars toy (by Stomp Rocket), which is the follow-on toy to the original Stomp Rocket. This kind of crazy high energy toy is right up my (I mean my children’s) street.
My keen testers are aged 10, 7 and my 3 and a half. The age recommendation is 5-12 so I feel that we are equipped to give it a fair trial!
The red and blue box features a girl and boy playing with the toy, so thank goodness a company that acknowledges that girls like playing with cars too! As well as being a fun toy for both boys and girls, it has those magic little words “air powered”… which is rare in such a high energy toy as they usually love to guzzle batteries. Absolutely no batteries required, just child-energy!
Once you open the box everything looks a little plain and basic initially as you decorate the car and ramp with the stickers yourself, which I absolutely love as kids thrive on being creative but it also builds that excitement until the first “jump”. Once the stickers are on it does look pretty cool.
The car we received was red, it isn’t the most exciting design and is pretty light but given what it has to do, this would make sense. My boys will test this to its breakable limits so I was intrigued to see if it would stand up to the challenge (so far so good). The ramp was a little disappointing as it is the type of light mouldable plastic that you would find inside a board game to hold the game contents, and my worry with this as an outside toy is whether it would withstand my breezy Yorkshire garden in the long-term. That said, it is a decent width and height. The pump part of the toy is much more durable.
Setting it up was easy for the children to do once they had been shown once, taking just seconds. The instruction sheet was easy to follow using pictures so they could have done it by themselves really. Once the tubes are all connected and the car is in position, you simply slam your foot onto the pump and the car is launched forward. You can cut out a little racing licence from the instruction leaflet which is cute; this could have gone a step further if it had perhaps been on coloured card and been made into a lanyard or badge.
So, is it as good as the hype? In a word, yes! I wasn’t prepared for the dramatic noise that the pump action makes, but for the kids it added to the drama. The children loved to move the ramp further away so that the car flipped, and they measured how many toy cars or B*****’s (editor’s note – brand name removed) the car could jump over with the ramp closer and further away. A bit of scientific investigation without them realising!
We used our own toys to extend the ramp and created new ramps outdoors with whatever we could find in the garage. It is one of those engaging toys which had all three of them trying to make the car fly more dramatically. Also having competitions to see which of us could send the car the farthest distance was another favourite activity. Whilst you can play with it indoors (watch your paintwork perhaps), it works great outside as everything can be washed or wiped down and you can really get creative with it. I envisage them trying to send it over ramps and into the paddling pool once summer arrives.
The manufacturer instructions encourage experimentation with STEM concepts, with a focus on projection, force and motion. My husband and I are both of a science background so this is interesting for us to look at with our children, as it’s always a bonus if they can learn through their play. In fairness my youngest just wanted to do jumps and make the car fly, but the other two appreciated my efforts I hope. It is something they could take into school and ask a teacher about too if they are looking at this topic.
The RRP of £19.99 seems fair given the quality, sticker features and technology involved. You can buy a two-pack red and blue racer for £34.99 so that you can race and challenge a friend, which is a great idea.
This isn’t a quiet toy, or rather won’t create quiet children! I can see my kids getting a lot of play out of it, especially my youngest who loves cars and stunts. He is younger than the manufacturer recommended age but as long as your kids know to keep it away from faces (and the cat as in our case), and you trust them not to launch the car into ornaments then you can make your own call regarding whether it is suitable. Personally I wouldn’t leave the 3.5 year old unattended with it just yet indoors only outdoors, but it is certainly something that he is getting a lot of fun from.
A really exciting toy for the house or outdoors, and one that creates plenty of scope for extended play and investigation as you build ramps and design stunts. I would score this toy 4.5 stars out of 5.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Stomp Racers Air-Powered Race Cars can be purchased from Amazon here.